Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lance's Food Kept Secure During Tour

According to WFAA.com, Lance Armstrong's food during the tour was protected from tampering. I can't help but think of Landis accepting that six pack from the crowd after stage 16. What else did Landis accept?

I can be quite cynical and I have a sensitive bullshit meter, and for some reason, Landis still isn't setting off that bullshit meter. I like to observe facial ticks and other paralinguistic cues when people talk (I'm irrepressibly analytical I'm afraid). I've watched these interviews and my lie detector isn't going off. There are so many things that do make me suspicious, and I don't always trust either my analysis or my intuition, but usually at least one of them is right (usually the latter). I am pretty convinced that Tyler Hamilton doped and certainly would not be shocked to learn if Armstrong did. Armstrong has all the markings of a guy who lusts for power, who has a sort of age-old deep-seated anger that really drives him to achieve, to endure pain like no other. If anything that lust leaves me in awe. But Landis, despite being a Phonak cyclist with a pair of positive IRMS samples, my intuition is saying he didn't do it.

But then there's one thing that bothers me. Landis appeared to resist, almost seemed to fight against, holding the maillot jaune well before stage 16. That tactic seems suspect, namely because the jersey comes with extra testing.

54 Comments:

Blogger Mike Papageorge said...

"Bgut [sic] then there's one thing that bothers me. Landis resisted, seemed to fight against, holding the maillot jaune. That still bothers me, namely because the jersey comes with extra testing."



Your site has been great about presenting missing facts and questioning the bad journo being done in addition to the whole testing-reporting process which has been a real letdown. Why do you bother coming to us now with that conjecture?

12:43 AM  
Blogger Rads said...

I don't understand why they don't do the isotope test on all samples during the tour, they claim it 300 Euros per test. give me break, they test 6 or 7 samples per day, what is that 1800 Euros must be a drop in the bucket for a big event like that. The whole testing environment seems fishy to me. If they want to catch druggies wouldn't they do this test on all samples? othewise you just have the guys loading up on testerone to stay under the 4:1 ratio.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Spike Nettles said...

Since the whole L'Equipe -- Paris lab – WADA -- Armstrong affair has died down, maybe the leaker in the Paris lab has now created the Landis positive so that they would have new material to leak to L'Equipe. Perhaps they are payed by L'Equipe for information or they increase their sense of self importance by providing information.

3:15 AM  
Blogger ottomark said...

I agree with Mike. This site has been great for facts. If I want speculation, I can watch Jay Leno tell Landis he's a liar and a cheat. My own intuition is the same as this site's: that Landis isn't lying. I don't know if that's because I just want to believe so badly that stage 17 is one of the greatest human sports achievements ever or because I just like Landis. But there is enough speculation between me, Leno, my bike mechanic and others, that this site was a breath of fresh air for its attempts to research and present the facts.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Taddeus said...

Free Floyd:

Landis made a comment that he has no idea what happens to his sample after he gives it to an official at the tour.

How many different entities are involved in the testing process? Are there any Americans present?

It seems that it would be all to easy to taint a sample before it is tested? This is the only plausible explanation for only one of his T/E ratios being high for the whole tour.

A spiked drink or food would likely cause any of the tests after stage 17 to be elevated also. I'm assuming he was tested after regaining the yellow jersey. Do we know the results of these tests?

6:51 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

does anyone know where I can find a copy of the leno segment online?

this has been said 1000 times, but this blog, and the comments forum has by and large, fostered the most objective and intelligent "debate" on this entire affair.

6:56 AM  
Blogger 5kChick said...

Why is everyone so confident floyd didnt cheat? If you actually knew how he cycled before this race you'd realize that hes doping. But i mean hey u basically have to do that to win cuz like at least the last maybe 8 tours have been won with doping. Yes i'm saying lance dopes i know he does cuz i know people who raced who saw him. If floyd really didnt cheat he wouldnt be making up all this multitude of excuses.

7:08 AM  
Blogger nlstanford said...

I don't even know where to start... The possibilities for conspiracy are seemingly endless. Please know that I don't normally buy into conspiracy theories, but there are any number of things that could have occurred the night before stage 17. Here are a few of my questions:

(1) Does anyone know who prepares the cyclist's recovery meals, or even what these meals consist of? I wouldn't be surprised if they took some nutrients via IV... and if so, who prepares that?

(2) Who watched over, prepared, and administered Floyd's cortisone injections?

(3) Who administers the team massage, and who "patrols" the massage lotions that are used? It's possible that a topical steroid could have been placed in the lotion.

(4) Where does Floyd get his sunscreen? Again... the possibility of topical steroids.

(5) Floyd took something like 75 bottles of fluids during his comeback stage... who supplies all these to the team car?

(6) Like the main posts asks, how many things did Floyd take from fans on the side of the road?

And finally...

(7) Who else was tested on stage 17 with Floyd, and who makes sure the samples are labeled properly? This may be the biggest piece of speculation yet, but didn't Oscar Piero perform a whole heck of a lot better than people thought he would once he had the yellow jersey? Is there any chance that HE doped and somehow the samples got switched?

Think about it: Oscar, a guy who was never supposed to win the Tour is suddenly in a great position to challenge for the title (something he was 20 minutes away from during earlier stages when he died in the mountains). He gains back 20+ minutes because the Peloton lets him and all of a sudden it crosses his mind, "Hey, with a little help I could win this thing."

It's ALL speculation. But "what if?"

7:27 AM  
Blogger ilsanjo said...

San Diego computer entrepreneur Michael Robertson on Thursday offered Tour de France winner Floyd Landis $100,000 to "clear the air" and take a polygraph examination while addressing charges that he doped on his way to victory in the Tour.

Seems like a good way to help Landis if he didn't dope.

8:41 AM  
Blogger trust_but_verify said...

I think the objective person would say that we don't know whether he cheated or not. There are certainly large packs that are quite convinced that he is a guilty, dirty, lying, denying blight. And there are some fanboys who won't hear a word against him.

I think there are many people who would prefer to hope that he is clear, or at worst an unintentional victim of a harmless accident. If proven otherwise, we'll probably shake our heads sadly, as we've done with Tyler Hamilton.

10:32 AM  
Blogger TR said...

@ nlstandford


(1) each team has a cook who prepares the food. The ingredients are guarded religiously - what Lance did was not uncommon.

(2) the team doctor does. All injections and medications are very tightly controlled by the team - for reasons one can only imagine.

(3) While the lotion may not be locked away, it is impossible to skew the T/E ratio using topical steroide application. Simply not enough testo gets in.

(4) see (3)

(5) The soigneurs prepare all the team bottles.

(6) Riders do not drink anything given to them by fans. They pour it over their heads. If a rider drinks something from a fan he exposes himself to a myriad of problems (laced drinks have been found roadside in the past - can you spell laxative?)

(7) The athletes seal their own samples and the samples are numbered, not named.

"What if" is all good and nice, but it's completely illogical and senseless. What if Floyd Landis is Tyler's vanished twin?

Landis cheated, there is simply no other explanation that holds any validity. Use Occam's Razor. It's painfully obvious.

I'm not even going to get into the "changing the defense" factor.

10:33 AM  
Blogger mtnwing said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pound

Interesting documentation on the history of Dick Pound and his past comments and credibility. Also worth noting that Dick appears to be a French-Canadian as are some of the other WADA top scientists.

10:33 AM  
Blogger mtnwing said...

Also worth noting is that Mr. Pound and Lance Armstrong have had a very public battle.

http://www.active.com/story.cfm?story_id=13200&sidebar=742&category=tdf2006_peloton

Some might speculate that this could be a partial motive for the WADA head to strike back at American cycling.

11:41 AM  
Blogger CasualTourFan said...

I really appreciate the idea of the bullshit meter. Landis just doesn't come off as being a slick liar. He doesn't even seem arrogant.

Regarding the fact that he didn't want the yellow jersey during the race, I think he just didn't want his team to have to defend it in the peleton.

I'm now leaning in the direction of "no conspiracy". Just a lot of petty human beings. Dick Pound being one of the most petty.

It would be so easy for one petty lab worker to mess with samples. Forget spiking food, water, or anything else Landis ingested. Who's to say the samples (A and B) were even Floyd's?

Vrijman may be right about the French lab's lack of scientific results. Good science is dependent on honesty, objectivity, and integrity. No one in this affair in France or anywhere else appears to be the least bit objective.

This IS material for Jay Leno!

12:28 PM  
Blogger matteo said...

Alright. Lets let "San Diego computer entrepreneur Michael Robertson on Thursday offered Tour de France winner Floyd Landis $100,000 to "clear the air" and take a polygraph examination while addressing charges that he doped on his way to victory in the Tour."

The best idea I heard all day!

Who knows if this is really true?

If not, lets get a 'lie-detector' fund going. Lets ask Floyd how much he wants to take the test, and raise that much. We give him the $ and he comes clean! Easy.

2:18 PM  
Blogger matteo said...

Is it possible to determine where the testosterone came from? ie. what type mechanism - cream, injected, swallowed, etc. If the IRMS tests is able to determine exogenous test, then how about how (perhaps length of time for it to be introduced in his system) it got there? What is the half-life of the test they found? How long would that type remain in his system? That would reveal when, or if, it was taken. Is it even possible to 'drop' some testosterone into the urine sample and have the test results look the same as if the testosterone came from within his body?

Somebody knows these answers. Tell us! Thanks.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

There was a great article in Cycling Weekly (UK) last week about a woman who tested positive for testosterone several years ago and spent years trying to clear her name which she eventually did. The proved that the Portuguese lab mishandled her specimen and she came back 42 times over the normal parameters. Anyone who thinks that all scientific processes are infallible probably still believes pro wrestling is real.
The point here is that when an athelete's life work is on the line and events as prominent as the Tour de France or the Olympics are involved, shouldn't every possible precaution be taken? (like testing A and B samples in seperate labs? Like using the $300 test for exogenous testosterone?) Shouldn't these atheletes get the benefit of the doubt? Why is it so hard for some people to believe that science IS INFALLIBLE and the monetary risk involved in any possible exposure of that fallibility could drive a lab or other organisation towards corruption in order to protect or improve their own reputation? These guys DO and HAVE made mistakes which have been proven in a court of law.
Is it unusual? Yes.
Is it common? No.

- but it has happened.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

Mike Papageorge, I'm not sure what the problem is with thinking aloud. This blog *isn't* a cheerleader section for Landis and this isn't a 'drugs are bad' site either. I think all reasonable considerations should be included. It is entirely reasonable to consider the tactic of avoiding the yellow jersey as suspect in light of the positive IRMS test.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

Ottomark - Landis avoiding the yellow jersey during the tour is a fact, not a speculation. We all know he did not want the jersey when he could easily have had it; he admitted as much during the race. We also all know that the holder of the yellow jersey is tested at every stage he holds the jersey--another fact. Landis failed the IRMS--another fact. Putting the three together is what is commonly referred to as 'thinking.'

The sort of thinking here is essentially all probabilistic. Whenever a thought process depends upon information whose truth-value is between 0 (false) and 1 (true) we gotta make guesses. No test reports facts, only high indices of reliability. If we do not trust in high reliability we begin to throw away the very basis of science. Speculation, particularly speculation based on the synthesis of two or more relatively independent pieces of information, is an essential part of science. Mendel discovered genes before he or anyone else ever saw one. He speculated and imagined them, and gathered evidence that suggested genes, but he himself discovered genes without ever seeing them.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

I would say that it is highly likely that he doped. Another reasonable yet far less likely possibility is that the secure chain of custody of Landis' samples was violated, either by accident or maliciously. Another less likely possibility is that someone does Landis unwittingly. And then on the very end of possibilities is the fact that there's a natural explanation to the positive IRMS result, that the IRMS simply resulted in a false positive while doing exactly what it's supposed to do: detect ratios of carbon isotopes. The three distinct and credible "Floyd is innocent" possibilities together make a basis for reasonable doubt. They also necessitate further examination.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

ministry you sure are reasonable!

6:25 PM  
Blogger trust_but_verify said...

I think there is a really good suggestion in having a second lab become involved somewhere.

8:57 PM  
Blogger drehvial said...

Some facts:
1) Landis's test came out positive
2) Nobody involved has claimed that the urin tested was not the one from Landis (not even any of his lawyers)
3) Landis claimed that he will show that all the testosterone was produced inside his body
4) Landis so far did not announce how he will do this
5) The second one in the TDF was a spanish
6) then comes a german and another spanish rider - damn still no french rider!
7) CIA, Mossad, RD, MI-6, BND and similar organisations do not make any statements nor to ongoing or past activities
8) Landis did not request any of the other samples that were taken during TDF to be tested with IRMS. He has not even claimed that he will do so if this is still possible
9) There was a lawyer from Landis present when the seal of the B-Sample was broken
10) Nobody claimed that there was something wrong with that seal
11) There was an expert payed by Landis present durng the analysis of the B-Sample
12) No problems in the analysis of the B-Sample were reported so far
13) the results of the A-Sample and the B-Sample are within the bounds of the error that normally should appear when testing the same urine twice
14) Landis did not ask for a DNA comparison to show that this is not his sample

1:18 AM  
Blogger Doug Wong said...

Why is it possible to believe that someone devised an elaborate conspiracy to secretly sneak steroids into Landis' body by drugging his food or pouring them into his urine sample, but not possible to believe that an elite athlete under tremendous pressure to win decided to use steroids in hopes that he wouldn't be caught? Look around, especially at track and field athletes, and you'll see that many elite athletes, ones that we have admired our entire lives, give in to pressure and make a big mistake. They are living a life that most of us can't even imagine, with all the intense training, pressure to succeed, and millions of dollars on the line. We can't just go on our gut feelings that so-and-so doesn't strike us as a liar or can't be capable of cheating because he doesn't "seem" arrogant. Science may not be perfect, but it trumps gut feelings and instinct. Didn't everybody used to think that OJ was a personable, friendly guy?
I was a chemistry major in college.
Most chemicals taste awful; that's why drug companies have to pack them into tablets or capsules that don't release the drug until it's in the system. If his food or a drink handed to him by a spectator was laced with steroids, it probably would have tasted so awful that Landis would have spat it out. And I agree that a topical steroid cream couldn't raise a person's testosterone/epitestosterone level to 11:1. Human skin is not a great vehicle for drug absorbtion.
And when urine specimens are taken, I believe they immediately put a tamper-proof seal over each bottle. The seal can't be removed without breaking it; there is no way to open it, dump in some steroids, and put the seal back on intact. Let's give the testing agencies some credit; this isn't the 70s, when they had no way to test for steroids. They've learned most of the tricks athletes use.
The fact that Landis seems to offer a new explanation each day further weakens his credibility. He tries one thing, and when it's debunked, he tries something new. And each explanation is more implausible than the previous one.
Putting science aside, do some of his explanations really make sense? For example, he said he drank a large amount of alcohol the night before and possibly that raised his testosterone. But if a rider rode poorly in stage 16, then went out on a late night heavy drinking binge, is it likely he could have cycled well enough to win stage 17? Have you ever tried to compete in an athletic event after a night of no sleep when you're hung over? If he had been drinking, he would have rode worse, not better.
Two years ago, German pro triathlete Nina Kraft had her Ironman title stripped after she tested positive for EPO. But Kraft admitted she used EPO, gave up her title, and served her 2 year suspension. She took a ton of criticism from the press and many of her fans. Some of them sent her death threats. But she is now competing and winning again, drug-free, and most fans have forgiven her. It's not about using the drugs at all! It's about taking responsibility for your actions!
I am not trying to bash Landis. I was just as excited as everybody else when I heard an American had won. But I think that if we are to be true fans of Floyd Landis, then we should encourage him to admit he made a mistake, give up his title, and serve his suspension, not to continue to grasp at straws like a bunch of conspiracy theorists. As Nina Kraft has proved, this kind of thing doesn't have to be a career-killer, if you come clean. But to go down in permanent denial can be a career-killer.

2:43 AM  
Blogger maisie said...

Another brilliant comeback!

I never liked Bill Maher's arrogance. His comment on the Tonight Show ("Who cares about cycling?") was out of line. Floyd's response (Jay has a hard time finding guests) was the perfect way to diffuse the awkward moment with self-effacing humor. Only later did I realize it was also a subtle reciprocating insult to Maher: something along the lines of "he's scraping the bottom of the barrel with you, Buddy"

Way to go Floyd!

By the way, Floyd has already passed a kind of lie-detector test when his mom asked him and he said he was innocent.

9:04 AM  
Blogger moe29 said...

How can he be clean in the races he won before the Tour if he was a doper?

Were his samples prior to the stage he tested positive clean?

Is there something that can be pointed to that he used after the bad stage that would have made him test positive? Like a patch or something?

This whole thing is so strange and sad.

10:17 AM  
Blogger WarKitty said...

Doug Wong, I think what's being said here is that its entirely likely that Floyd got desperate and tried for the magic pill. What is equally being said is that there is enough cause for reasonable doubt to consider Floyd's protestation of innocence as possible. Perhaps not likely, but possible and due to that, open to debate and discussion.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Rob O. said...

5kchick!!!!

U said: "If you actually knew how he cycled before this race you'd realize that he’s doping."

Really? Paris-Nice. Tour de Georgia. Tour de California.

I seem to remember a lot of TDF mountain stages where Floyd was at the front of the pack with Lance, not in the middle or back with the Pereiros, Evans, and Sastre's of the day.

5kBabe, how come no suspicion for Pereiro? Sastre, ET all. How have they raced in the past and how did they finish where they did in this year's TDF? Did they dope too?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Rob O. said...

Free Floyd - first off, I think I was one of the first to post to your blog. I think you have started a great thing. How ever, I must disagree with you on 2 points:

The first about Floyd not wanting the jersey because of the pending tests that would follow. I think the strategy was different for a Phonak team vs. a Discovery team. Discovery was like the ‘85 Bears who could pretty much dictate the game and make every one play by their rules. 2006 Phonak was nowhere near that dominance. Floyd, rightly so, had to pick and choose his battles, and holding the jersey just to hold it was not the best thing overall. And it proved a good tactic. So, your assertion is that Floyd was doping and he was trying to get around tests by not having the jersey. Uh? Like an American in the top 10 GC wouldn't get “randomly” tested anyway. Floyd was around Discovery long enough to know better. And if avoiding testing were the case, why would he go balls out on stage 17 then? If he wanted to avoid testing, he should have quietly finished 15 - 20th and have called on the hip pain as a perfect excuse.

Second, you say this is not a "cheerleading site" for Floyd Landis. Excuse me, just what do you mean by "Free Floyd Landis"? My bad...I didn't understand the nuance of your blog...

11:28 AM  
Blogger Rob O. said...

Did ya'all know that the time difference between Landis and Sastre was just 1.8%
over 5 HOURS of riding?

Numbers don't lie. But OK, I give the nay sayers there due for arguments sake.
Landis got his advantage through some sort of exogenous testosterone.

So, this leaves me to ask the following:

A). If he didn't take the "T", would his time been at least 1.8% slower over the
day, to equall that of the clean rider, Sastre?

B). Given the other top 10 finishers were clean, what possibly can explain their
time differences of a minute or two between them? If drugs make you win then we
have to assume everyone would ride the same times. Right?

Of course not. But then again, according to the presses own rational, Landis
beat Sastre because he cheated. Then did Sastre (2) beat Cadel Evans (10) by
1:48 because he cheated or because he was simply better than Cadel that day? My
guess is that Sastre "cheated" the drug test...that's the only way he could have
finished second.

C). In all of sports, I have never heard of any athelete being just a little
better on any given day that ends up having a large impact at the end of the
day. You know, Jordan finding a way to make 3 extra baskets in 60 minutes that
help the Bulls win by one. Walter Payton getting an extra 1 foot for a first
down to keep a drive alive that effectively kills the clock and wins the game
for the Bears. Lance himself finding a way to shave 2-3 seconds per hour to give
him a 6 minute margin at the end of 28 days.

Naw, had to be T.

- R. Oresteen

11:33 AM  
Blogger TR said...

I think one of the fundamental errors must folks make when they discuss doping is that testing catches every doper.

The argument that Landis "must have been stupid to take something that day knowing he would be tested" is faulty because it's based on wrong assumptions of the actual situation.

It is not the case that he doped only that one day and should have expected to be caught. Rather, he (like many others) dope regularly and virtually never get caught, because they know the tricks. Thus he expected NOT to get caught.

The sad fact is that testing does not work. Look at Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, Millar. Millar never failed a doping test. Yet, he admitted to doping. Basso never admitted a doping test, yet he is on Fuentes' list. Ullrich and Armstrong both failed doping tests and did not get sanctioned, because it was explained away. Yet, it now looks like both of them were 'on'.

The "news" in this whole story is not that Landis doped. It is that he got caught. There is no doubt that others if not all in the top ten have medical help. You cannot ride the Tour at the current pace without medical help. The question is, when do you cross the line? There is a huge grey area (like the arbitrary limits of T/E 4:1 or Hemo 50).

Of all the winners of the grand tours of the last ten years only 1 or 2 are not charged with, under investigation, or even suspended for doping violations. That should tell you all there is to know.

Wake up people. Landis doped. If you can't see that then you are in huge denial.

12:47 PM  
Blogger trekkguy1 said...

http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/b5_2003.pdf
goooooood reading.........wada isnt even confident in its isotope test!!!

1:43 PM  
Blogger Rob O. said...

TR:

I think you make a fair statement though I personally do not agree with it.

I think you unknowingly neutered your position by saying that:

"The sad fact is that testing does not work."

If testing does not work, how can you rely on its results when they show a positive outcome?

Again, if you are sure Landis doped, exactly what substance did he dope with, for how long, and just how does it give him a competitive advantage over the peleton? Also, if he did dope, and assuming doping helps, why did he bonk the day before? Couldn't he have just "ridden through" the lack of energy as well?

I do have a problem with the guilty first attitude of the French and UCI in general. I also have a problem with the controls or lack there of after a sample leaves the hand of the rider.

I'm not in denial - I'm just not ready to accept the conventional wisdom that you need something other than heart to win.

Also - what was the test that Armstrong failed? Is there a reference for it that you know of? Thanks.

- Rob

2:42 PM  
Blogger TR said...

Rob,

let me clarify.

"The sad fact is that testing does not work."

It does not work in stopping dopers. The tests are reliable and scientifically sound. However, the athletes have figured out how to cheat the tests. Doping is rampant in the pro peloton. The test, however, are not detecting it. Thus, they don't work in catching the dopers. Once there is a positive test, it's only because that particular rider has made a mistake in his regimen.
The tests work perfectly fine for what they're designed to do. They're just not designed to keep up with today's doping technologies.

Virtually the entire peloton uses ATP blockers (lactic acid blockers), allergic medications that widen the oxygen pathways (aveoli), asthma medication for the same reason. All these substances are legal if you have a prescription. Some riders use cortisone on prescription (Floyd), some are rumored to use steroids on description (Armstrong's med file has never been disclosed).

The illegal drugs one can use are steroids (like testo), EPO (to raise red blood cell levels), methamphetamines (to increase stamina and muscle performance), and the newer stuff like IGF-1 (insulin growth homrone) or HGH (human growth hormone).

In Landis' case, we're atlking Testosterone, a substance widely used in sports to build muscle mass (now often stacked in combination with HGH and IGF-1 to convert fat into muscles). That's what the baseball folks have been taking. Bodybuilders know all about it.

In cycling testosterone is widely used in patch form. Riders use a patch on their scrotum or testacles to receive a small amount of testosterone (these patches are medically used for hormone replacement therapy). The result is not one of muscle building. Rather the effect is a better and faster and more complete recovery of muscle fibers.

Testosterone attaches to certain receptors in the muscles that tells them to build. If the muscle is damaged, the building is essentially repairing (which is basically recovery). After a mountain stage and riding maybe an hour over lactic threshold (LT) the muscles have burned a whole lot of ATP and thus damaged themselves.

The testosterone will speed up the process of rebuilding the damaged msucle fibers. Some riders say that is doesn't help, others swear by it. Jesus Manzano, one of the whistleblowers in the cycling scene, says that testosterone works great for just that application.

Now, the patch application yields to little testosterone to skew the T/E ratio enough for a positive finding. Most likely that Landis used injected testosterone to help his recovery process.

Landis probably uses a number of techniques that are dubious - because almost all of them do. He used synthetic testosterone (which can be determined by the isotope test beyond any reasonable doubt despite reports to the contrary). It's carbon check, very effective.

He probably used the patch during the Pyrenees and again in the Alps. Had he stuck with that, he probably wouldn't have been caught.

But he bonked because of dehydration and the failure to fill the tank on the road (no carbs, no H20). He had a bad day and the patch from that night couldn't change that.

So here he is, the Tour is probably lost. He wants to make a statement the next day which means he has to recover well. So, he goes to the edge of what he thinks is possible and injects testo intravenuosly.

My very personal guess is that the dehydration from the day before screwed up his math. Or maybe he just took more than he should have. Or maybe he stacked it with something that increased the reading (the lab would not be allowed to allude to other substances found in his blood if they were under the limits).

As to the guilty first argument. There is a great article on velonews.com about how the process works. As soon as A and B sample are positive the burden of proof is with the rider to explain himself, as those samples are considered evidence.

The UCI is in Switzerland, by the way, and WADA headquarters are in Canada. The French lab is staffed by an international crew of scientists and all the tests are exactly the same in all WADA labs worldwide.

The samples are sealed in the trailer with the athlete present. There is a number on the sanmple, no name. The lab technician does not even know from which event or sport the sample is (although that would probably be pretty easy to guess).

The controls are not bad at all. I've been to the Tour and the secruity around the test trailers is very tight. Riders sometimes are required to wash their hands with antiseptic solution as though not to taint the samples (and because it is rumored that there is a red powder that allows riders to mask certain substances when they rub it in their urine).

By the way, UCI did not break its own protocol. The rules say that UCI may not release the name of a rider unless both samples are positive. THe UCI only released that there is a rider. The fact that it was Landis was released by Team Phonak.

Armstrong was shown to have corticosteroids in his urine in 1999, however, the amount was not in the positive range. Armstrong later submitted a certificate for a butt cream that could produce the result.

Also, in 2005, tests on archived samples showed that Armstrong had used EPO during the tour in 1999. Because these tests were scientific research and not doping tests he could not be charged with doping in the letter of the law. Scientifically there is no doubt that he used EPO in 1999 (all the arguments in the Vrjiman report are based on legal procedure not scientific procedure).

There are also former teammates of Armstrong who have testified or who have been recorded, stating that Armstrong blood doped and used EPO. Not to speak of all the other allegations in L.A. Confidential which I have not read.

6:00 PM  
Blogger trust_but_verify said...

Since there was not a good chain of custody of the 1999 "research samples", there is no reliable assurance that Armstrong did EPO that year, and along with no A sample, why the UCI could not do anything despite Dick's Pounding that they Do Something with the results.

To say that "Scientifically there is no doubt that he used EPO in 1999" is to say that there is no doubt from whom the samples came. Since the custody chain was not done for the research samples, we can't say that with absolute certainty, especially given the absence of any other provable evidence. We can suspect, but there is doubt. Enough doubt that it would be legally unwise to publish LA Confidential in the UK, having to answer to those libel laws.

I'm not going to say that these guys don't and haven't doped, and I don't yet know for fact what happened with Floyd. So far, the theories presented as mitigation don't sound plausible, but they haven't really been researched and clearly argued yet. It's dubious to leap to a conclusion yet. That's why there is a process.

It is fascinating in its way that there has been no comment from the giants who were full of praise before this blew up -- Hinault and Merckx. Why would that be? Perhaps know about doping, think it is ridiculous to complain, but know better than to throw themselves in front of the bus leading to the alter of public sanctimony.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Rob O. said...

TR -

Thanks for your thoughtful and apparently well informed reply. I say "apparently" because of the fact I. like 99% of the population, am ignorant to the mechanics of doping and its effect on the athlete’s body.

The thing that really bugs me is that I don't think Floyd is/was that stupid to inject anything the night before Stage 17. You gotta know he will think he gets caught. Floyd does not appear to be someone who wouldn't learn his lesson and come back in 2007 to try it again.

Second, if the entire peleton is doping, we are talking about a lot of people connected to it when you add in the support staff, doctors and various team members. After a while the whistle really gets blown by almost everyone, not just a few people that thought they heard this or saw that (a la Lance).

Can injecting testosterone the night before be enough to repair damaged muscles to the point Floyd can reel off a 9 minute gap that was eventually cut back to 5/6? I still don't believe it.

Here's my theory. I can't account for what was in Landis's urine and why this test came out as it did. I do believe the ride in stage 17 was pure Floyd - you are right - he was a man against the wall - ready to loose what he just about won. His mind is somewhere else - beyond pain. Beyond typical athletic constraints. He knew it was ride like you were gonna die or the Tour really would be lost. I believe his mathematics were that I have to ride my kahunas off and then keep going till I drop - if I drop. I believe team Floyd also knew there really was no character in this year's Peleton. Kloden? Good but still a pretender for TDF. Sastre? Good but a loud mouth bitch to his Director Sportif, Bjarne Riss. Cadel Evans. No balls. He's the guy that rode someone's wheel last year for what seemed a day and a half (without ever helping) then jumped out for the sprint to finish in front of him. That's what I call a true pussy. Rassmusen? He gets his 15 minutes every year. The other guys - all good riders, but no stand outs - no one like a Basso or Armstrong who will show leadership when and where needed. The peleton rode like shit on stage 17 cuz they were too stupid to think anyone could really get away and when it happened, not enough talent to stop it.

OK, there are some right now say, sure, Landis was doping, of course he couldn’t be caught (from his break away). But if that were so, the assertion that "every one is doping" should make up for that.

I don't think Floyd would lie to his Mom, in front of the whole world, about it. I think if he doped, and got caught, he would have been man enough to call his mom and say as much. He wouldn't have made her go through this for a fricking bike race, TDF or not.

I have seen Landis talk about it and like other posters to this blog, I can't find dishonest twitches or voice inflections that scream to me he's lying. And we don't have to be trained professionally to determine that. As humans, we are blessed with a very good BS meter. In the cave man days it kept us alive. Today, we use it to make better choices and determinations when needed.

Where are we today? I'm not sure. If in my heart I believed Floyd was lying, TR's post would be all I need to confirm it (very well done).

In my heart, I think there is another explanation. I trust science - I don't trust the process.

And yes, like someone said earlier; "Where are all the French riders that tested positive this year? I'm not a conspiracy buff, but I think it's a small point that merits some consideration.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

rob o I never *asserted* floyd was doping on the basis that he avoided the yellow jersey. I reported my own reflection of a possible connection.

I think Landis likely did take testosterone; the likelihood of other explanations are very low. really the only area of exploration is diet; if he, for example, ate two bowls of millet cereal a day for a decade he might trigger a false positive on the IRMS. that's not so bizarre; I ate a millet cereal daily for the better part of a decade.

given the poor performance of the T/E test and the effect of taking E on the test it's a heck of any easy way to supplement for pros. why choose other more detectible methods of biochemical support?

landis is a competitor foremost, regardless of whether he's mennonite or zoroastrian, and competitors hate losing. cyclists have been on the bleeding edge of doping for decades. not shocking that another cyclist may have taken EPO or T or whatever.

regardless, the standards guiding doping need to be improved while the bureaucratic elements need revising or reconstructing. the theatrical bs must go. it appears that labs involved in testing regularly call for improvements to testing quality while the bureaucrats running these organization make the entirety of the process look idiotic. doping regulation is flawed, but then all regulation is flawed somehow. but to reject regulation because it can be wrong sometimes is to open the door to unchecked madness.

10:27 PM  
Blogger TR said...

Rob-

points well taken. I wanted to throw out there that I don't believe that it was the testo that made Landis win the stage. It may have helped him recover a bit better, but it certainly didn't gain him all the time. That's the unfortunate thing. Had he taken a placebo, he may have won by just about the same time.

There are other cases, like Hamilton, where the doping can actually account for a win (blood doping being much more effective in increasing on bike performance).

But in general doping doesn't make you a superman. You still need to train hard and ride harder. It just adds that extra bit. Heck, when I ride and squeeze out a gel I certainly get a mental boost.

But... Landis got caught so his performance is tainted. As to Landis lying to his mom: if he is in denial, he may not be "lying". He may believe that he is innocent even though he took something. Let's not forget that these guys are incredibly strong mentally and have to suppress very bad pain. They're masters at denial.

Finally, a word about the French riders. With the Festina scandal French cycling got shaken up pretty bad. Why do you think the French suck so bad at their own race?

Doping, unfortunatley, is institutionalized in cycling, as it is in many other sports. Reports say that 25% of all amateur athletes dope - in an area where there is money or glory to win other than personal satisfaction. We've had these discussion on many rides. The pros in our club can only smile at the naivite of some of our members. They've all seen it.

10:34 PM  
Blogger TR said...

@ trust but verify

The samples were tested anonymously by the lab to figure out whether old samples can be tested for EPO. It was a research test. No chain of custody was necessary because there would not have been any doping charges.

Furthermore, none of the scientists would have had any interest in "spiking" samples with EPO. The entire point was to find out whether old EPO can be deteced. These are world class scientists who work objectively in the name of science. And even if they wanted to spike a sample they wouldn't know which samples belong to which rider.

EPO was found. It is impossible for EPO to be in the samples now and not in 1999 (some have suggested that the EPO was created during the storage phase). The fact that some of the samples were positive got around and a journalist got hold of it.

Using investigative journalism techniques he got a UCI doctor to give him Armstrong's test protocols and matched the numbers of the samples.

Thus, it is scientifically sound to say that the samples contained EPO. It is extremely likely that these samples were given by Armstrong, although there is absolute certainty.

There is no way for this to be officially called doping or even to start an investigation, because the doping test protocols (like chain of custody and A/B sample) were not followed.

But for every sensible, logical, objective person the truth is quite obvious. Just like for Hamilton, who is still searching for his missing twin. And just like for Landis who will not find a way to explain the exogenous testo in his urine and instead attack the validity of the test and the protocol - like they all do.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Rob O. said...

free floyd -

Well, for me, it's not about his religion...perhaps I'm judging character as far as what he would admit to his Mom or not...for me, I would come clean with my family regardless...why live with a lie? At this point I don't believe he's lying. If he is, then obviously it's a dissapointment for everyone.

tr -

"Finally, a word about the French riders. With the Festina scandal French cycling got shaken up pretty bad. Why do you think the French suck so bad at their own race?"

Great point - I'm laughing cuz it just may be true!!

11:06 PM  
Blogger Mike Papageorge said...

Hey Free Floyd,

Sorry about the late reply...

I guess I enjoy the freshness of the facts you have been presenting versus the neverending speculation that can be found pretty much anywhere.

Thinking out loud and speculation is fine, and I certainly wasn't saying that you shouldn't or it was a bad thing to do, just that the tactic of presenting facts, identifying the bad journo being done in this whole affair (i.e. calling b.s. when need be) and also calling out the silly moves by people like Pound, McQuaid and Levevere made this a unique (and refreshing) place to visit.

Having a place that called out the faults in the system - regardless of whether Floyd doped or not - would no doubt increase awareness and maybe 'out' some of the issues that - up until now - only Floyd has mentioned.

This could only be a good thing for cycling...

1:46 AM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

TR - You seem to know a lot about this so please help me on this one. If they now tested Floyd's other samples for synthetic, would they find it (according to your earlier theory)?

I'm also curious if the maths add up. I heard the Carbon Isotope Mass Spectometer test indicated 3.99 per thousand. How does that equate when measured against the 11/1 T/E ratio? My impression was that a 3.99 in the CIMS test is a significant blip whereas the 11/1 T/E is an absolute train wreck of a reading. Should there be and is there any consistency between these readings?

Is there anything that could be done with the other samples that could possibly prove his innocence or at least cast serious doubt on the findings from the stage 17 sample?

Is there a completely independent lab that could be trusted to analyse such findings?

Can Landis' legal team get access to any of the actual samples?

1:11 PM  
Blogger TR said...

@ Ministry

I'm not a biochemist by any stretch but we have one in the club who continuously updates everyone with the scientific side of things. Testo does have a half-life and decays in blood but I do not know whether that applies to blod samples (frozen or not).

If samples were to be tested a positive test would be positive, but a negative test would not serve as counter-evidence. There is now ay of knowing whether he took exo-testo on any other day.

As to your consistency between the T/E test and the CIMS reading - that's a great question. I have no answer.

Unfortunately if other, earlier samples don't show testo it will not invalidate the positive tests. Just because you have picture of yourself stopped at a red light for the last two years it doesn't mean that the one picture when you ran it, is false.

The WADA laboratory is considered completely independent. It just happens to be in France because there is an historical attachment ot the Olympic movement. I'm a bit upset at this U.S./French antipathy. It dosn't help anyone building it up. Pesonally, I couldn't care less about nationalities anyway, but that's just me.

"Can Landis' legal team get access to any of the actual samples?"

Good question. I'm sure they can, but they would be exposed to exactly the same "trusted/independent" argument. That's, unfortunatley, what it comes down to in these situations.

3:48 PM  
Blogger CasualTourFan said...

Maybe Landis did eat a lot of millet. Millet is reported to improve a person's acid-alkaline balance to reduce susceptibility to illness. If anyone reading this blog lives in Chicago, I hope you go see Landis this weekend at the VisionQuest event, and ask him what he eats.

6:52 PM  
Blogger arborjimb said...

FFL:

Here are two excellent articles you should read, if you have not already. They explore whether high T would actually help Floyd and why his other tests were not positive. The tough questions everyone is avoiding.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/numbers_guy.html?mod=djemnumbers

(Intersting aside from the WSJ article above, Howard Jacobs, Floyd's lawyer claims they still have NOT rec'd copies of his B sample. Also, this article cites examples of botched t/e tests from the LNDD lab. It's happened before!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/10/fashion/10Fitness.html?ex=1312862400&en=f25e5229a5db4ac1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Seems they answer both questions as "not sure" but since it is illegal and found in his system, the burden of proof now rests with Floyd. Both articles suggest he has a tough road ahead of him.

I think that why so many people are asking quesions. Unlike Gatlin's positive test, Floyd does not fit the profile of a doper. And the drug he took, no one can say definitively that it would have actually helped. So, we are all left scratching our heads asking what exactly happened. Why would Floyd dope on one day with a drug of unsure benefits? Until these questions are answered, this will remain a controversy for a long time.

(Gatlin's personality might not fit the profile of a doper, but his coach, Trevor Graham has coached 30% all all athletes that have tested positive in Althetics in the last two years. So, guilt by association. Also High T in a sprinter makes more sense than an endurance althete like Floyd.)

5:48 AM  
Blogger arborjimb said...

One more comment fromt he WSJ article linked above.

They claim injected T would have helped Floyd. HOWEVER, this takes a week to 10 days to take effect and a few weeks to clear his system. Therefore, all of his tests should have came up positive.

They also say cream or patches could elevate his T for one day only and clear the system in hours. However, their is no scientific eveidence that using T in this manner would actually alter one's performance.

5:53 AM  
Blogger trust_but_verify said...

The WBUR talk show linked from TBV suggests the one-day effect could be entirely entirely psychological, like the stereotypical "roid rage".

By the way, TBV is now more of a link collection and less of a soapbox.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Amateur said...

The question about whether a one-day dose of Testosterone would have helped Floyd or not is irrelevant. If he had been smoking pot before the stage, it certainly would not have helped his performance -- but it still would have been illegal. Such are the rules.

There are only a few possibilities here for Floyd's innocence.

(1) the CIR test was a statistical false positive. That is, by random chance alone he exceeded the test threshold despite a complete lack of exogenous testosterone. Of course this is not impossible but it can never be proven and there is absolutely no point in pursuing this line of defense.

(2) Floyd was tampered with, i.e. given a dose of testosterone as an act of sabotage. If it could be proven he would get off without a ban. It probably cannot be proven without an admission from the guilty party.

(3) Floyd's sample was tampered with. If it could be proven he would get off without a ban. I have been subject to numerous tests myself and I cannot conceive of any way that this could have happened before the sample was opened at the lab, so this would imply corruption at the lab itself. It is possible that a sample corruption could be proven if subsequent samples were tested independently (CIR test) and shown not to have exogenous testosterone and if the "half-life" of exogenous testosterone in the body is more than a few days.

(4) For some as-yet-unknown reason the carbon in Floyd's testosterone came from an exogenous but legal source. We know that it did not come from his long-term diet -- the CIR test proves that the carbon in his testosterone does not match the carbon in the reference hormone. Another commenter wondered previously whether the carbon in the cortisone he was (legally) taking might have been recycled in his body in such a way that there ended up being more of it in testosterone than in other hormones. I am intrigued by that theory and would like to hear from some experts about whether this is possible or not.

I am afraid that is what it comes down to. Either we need some new science, or you believe in an elaborate and deliberate sabotage -- one that the perpetrators were for some reason unable to execute against Lance Armstrong or anybody else of significance.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Amateur said...

Also, I will point out that Pereiro was no patsy. He finished 10th in the Tour in 2004 and 2005.

And Dick Pound is not French-Canadian, whatever that is supposed to prove, although he does live in Montreal.

8:59 PM  
Blogger RoadChick said...

I've been noticing that the posters seem to be gravitating toward one school of thought: that Floyd took or received something after Stage 16 that somehow influenced his test after Stage 17. These posts all imply that Floyd in no way had any exogenous testosterone in his system before or after Stage 17. Previously, there were a number of comments that focused on the original test of the urine samples which reveals whether someone's testosterone:epitestosterone exceeds 4:1. Only if this ratio exceeds 4:1 is the sample further tested to detect what kind of testosterone is in the sample.

As some others have commented, and I agree, it seems Floyd's objective testosterone level was not neccessarily so high after Stage 17, but that his epitestosterone level was too low, thus causing the ratio to be out of whack. When the ratio came back at 11:1, the sample was subjected to the IRMS test, and this showed the probable presence of exogenous testosterone. It is my understanding that NONE of Floyd's other samples were subjected to this test because on those days, the T:E ratio did not exceed 4:1. Just because the ratio was in range, does not necesarily mean that Floyd did not have exogenous testosterone in his system on those days. He just wasn't tested for it.

I don't think I'm cycnical, but I do believe that to participate in the highest level of cycling, all competitors push the envelope as far as they can. That said, I don't think we really have enough evidence yet to say, without a reasonable doubt (assuming that is the standard of proof), that Floyd doped or didn't dope. I'd like to hear more about what drugs he was taking for his thyroid and hip, and how those substances break down in the body. Until I know there is nothing else that could have produced the IRMS result showing the presence/likelihood of exogoneous testosterone, I'm not ready to convict. It's still too speculative.

3:53 PM  
Blogger pareader said...

TR says:
"Also, in 2005, tests on archived samples showed that Armstrong had used EPO during the tour in 1999. Because these tests were scientific research and not doping tests he could not be charged with doping in the letter of the law. Scientifically there is no doubt that he used EPO in 1999 (all the arguments in the Vrjiman report are based on legal procedure not scientific procedure)."

and also said, "Thus, it is scientifically sound to say that the samples contained EPO. It is extremely likely that these samples were given by Armstrong, although there is absolute certainty."

However, another scientist does not seem to have this certainty. She kindly and diplomatically calls into question the science behind the determination that Armstrong had EPO in his blood.

http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/8746.0.html

10:41 AM  
Blogger jrcarri.com said...

Floyd you really need to be honest and step up to the plate and confess/admit to your wrong doing. You were behind and out of DESPERATION you took a chance! You were hydrating constantly one after another, your fuel was the testasterone dope plus the fact that you were behind plus the pressure of remaining on the team plus the pressure of living up to Lance Armstrong's preference of you. What else, ego? We need to overcome that bullshit in this dope riddled sport...help it out some why don't you and be honest and end this so that you can get back. The sport calls for letting your own body generate the cahones need to make a real comback, it was 75% you which still would have put you in a good spot in coming back, But that added boost, well that sealed it for you and your selfishness for the here and now moment, and for the cameras...It'll sort itself out later type crap. I admired you before this, stay out if you can't take the heat.

1:04 PM  
Blogger beatroot said...

"I can be quite cynical and I have a sensitive bullshit meter, and for some reason, Landis still isn't setting off that bullshit meter."

12:02 PM  

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